Apr 11, 2021 Patients are Helping Monmouth Medical Center Southern Campus Provide the Highest Quality Care

Community members recommended changes to hospital parking lot signs to help patients find their destinations.

Community members recommended changes to hospital parking lot signs to help patients find their destinations.

To deliver safe, comprehensive and compassionate care, Monmouth Medical Center Southern Campus (MMCSC) needs the community’s input. So, in 2018, MMCSC formed the Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC). “We wanted to get different perspectives on opportunities for change at the hospital,” says Donna Salin, Director of Patient Satisfaction at MMCSC.

The group of five community members consists of a retired nurse, a former board member, the parents of a patient, and a former teacher and Geriatrics Institute patient. All have been patients or have family members who have been patients in the past two years. “They’re so invested in the process, they feel like family to us,” says Salin.

The group, which meets monthly, has discussed a variety of issues, such as whether signs were helpful in directing patients to the correct parking lots. PFAC members suggested changes, including flagpoles that list the locations of services. In addition, staff committee members have “challenged” members to locate areas in the hospital without direction in order to make wayfinding recommendations.

Last summer, the hospital was welcoming patients back during the COVID-19 pandemic. PFAC members were asked whether the hospital was clearly communicating messages not to delay emergency care or put off surgery.

“We asked PFAC members, ‘What would make you feel safe at the hospital?’” recalls Salin.

The group made recommendations about how the hospital could inform the community about visitation restrictions.

Members recently reviewed the hospital’s website to determine whether it’s easy to find doctors and services. The group has also discussed what steps the hospital can take to receive the best feedback in patient surveys. The next task is to determine how the patient registration process can be improved, says Salin.

Serving on Committees

In 2018, all RWJBarnabas Health hospitals instituted their own PFACs. Across the system, members are involved in patient education; participate in patient rounds, in which they visit hospitalized patients; and serve on a variety of hospital committees, including Bioethics, Quality, Infection Control, Patient Falls, Safety, Pediatric and Palliative Care. Some members have also joined the LGBTQ Business Group and Hand Hygiene Task Force.

Last year, PFAC members started to participate in biweekly calls with Epic, the system’s new Electronic Health Record vendor.

Looking ahead, specialty PFAC boards may form to serve Spanish-speaking patients, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and NICUs.
PFAC members appreciate that their voices are being heard. Says one member: “Prior to this, I would send back the patient survey and never know if my comments were addressed. Now I know the hospital administration and PFAC members are listening.”

Meeting the Needs of Patients

Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC) members across RWJBarnabas Health have achieved the following:

  • Reduced discharge times by 30 minutes
  • Helped develop ICU, NICU, inpatient and pediatric brochures
  • Helped test the central scheduling app
  • Developed and presented workshops for families
  • Provided feedback on patient fall signs
  • Revised communication boards in patient rooms
  • Provided insights into visitation hours
  • Developed informational and safety videos

If you’ve been a patient or are a family member of a patient and would like to join the Patient and Family Advisory Council, email donna.salin@rwjbh.org or call (732) 886-4650.